Chilean farmers exported 723,000 tonnes of salmonoids (salmon and trout) worth USD 5.2 billion during the calendar year (CY) 2021, according to data from Chile’s National Customs Service. This marked a volume decline of 56,000 tonnes (-7.2%) y-o-y, while the aggregate export value increased by USD 851 million (+19.6%) during the same period. The data implies that average unit prices of Chilean salmonoids increased by approximately 28.9% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2021.
The Chilean Salmon Council, which represents Chile’s largest salmon suppliers, pointed towards robust foodservice demand for salmon during the 2021 CY as a key price support. Increased footfall at bars, restaurants and hotels was driven by governments relaxing social restrictions, on the back of COVID-19 vaccination programmes. The foodservice sector tends to purchase larger and higher priced salmon cuts, which typically sell for a premium, when compared with the retail sector. Thus, greater volumes of high value Chilean salmon was purchased by global consumers in 2021, compared to the previous year.
Surging costs of energy and labour provided further upside price support for the Chilean salmon industry during the 2021 CY. Chilean farmed salmon supply also came under considerable pressure from algae blooms, which led to high mortality rates in some regions. This tighter supply, against firm demand and rising cost inflation, was reflected in the Mintec free-on-board (FOB) price of fresh Chilean salmon, which increased by 57.3% y-o-y, from an average of USD 4.33/kg in CY 2020 to USD 6.81/kg in CY 2021.